Watson and Siri: The David and Goliath in health care delivery In every strength lies a weakness and in every weakness a strength. This maxim has held true throughout history -- from biblical days to the battles of modern times. And it holds just as true in the information technology (IT) “arms race” that’s playing out in American health care today. In Malcolm Gladwell’s newest work David and Goliath, he suggests that when we fail to ...

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Consider this scenario. Your clunker is on its last legs, and it’s time to get a new car. Most likely, you’ll search product reviews to help you decide which make and model is best -- best according to people who’ve driven them and kicked the tires a bit, not based on company accolades. You’ll want to know what drivers think. Amazon.com does the same thing for books (and every other ...

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I was invited to attend a private breakfast with book author, surgeon, and New Yorker contributor Dr. Atul Gawande shortly before Dr. Gawande’s talk at The New Yorker Festival. Over breakfast, Dr. Gawande spoke with IBM executive Dr. Paul Grundy on the future of health care. The event was sponsored by IBM so there was plenty of talk about how technology can and will influence the practice of medicine -- ...

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A recent article by Elizabeth Hipp decried the so-called hidden costs of free EMR systems. As a physician who uses a free EHR, I chuckle at stories trying to drum up fear and uncertainty about these systems. Though free EHRs have become mainstream, there still seems to be a clever news angle in highlighting their supposed pitfalls. We live in a time when Google offers all of its services ...

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Trust: A firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
Technology, technology, technology. It is all we hear. Ugh. Let’s change the focus from “technology” to the useful and meaningful processes that technology enables:
  • knowledge
  • sharing
  • communication
  • trust
Technology is only an enabler, much like the social graph. They are tools, they are platforms, and if properly utilized, they may enable “disruption” or transformation. It is the few individuals, and I do mean a few, ...

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A recent experience with my father-in-law reminded me of something that has concerned me for some time. While EMRs have some benefits for older adults, on balance I believe that they portend more dangers. There are multiple reasons, but the biggest is that health care providers tend to believe everything they read in an EMR. Even if what they read is wrong! A wise computer programmer once told me that “computer’s ...

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The hype over mobile health is deafening on most days and downright annoying on some.  So it is with some reluctance that I admit that mobile has the potential to be a gamechanger in health.  I’ve professed enthusiasm before, but that was largely around the use of wireless sensors to measure physiologic signals and SMS text as a way to deliver messages to patients and consumers.  For several years, the ...

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Over the next few months, Jacob Reider will serve as the interim National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)  while the search continues for Farzad Mostashari’s permanent replacement. What advice would I give to the next national coordinator? David Blumenthal led the ONC during a period of remarkable regulatory change and expanding budgets. He was the right person for the “regulatory era.” Farzad Mostashari led ONC during a period of implementation when resources peaked, grants were ...

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Health IT is booming, or so they say. The hotly debated and highly politicized health care reform, a.k.a. Obamacare, has been shining bright lights on a segment of our economy that is quickly approaching $3 trillion per year, and is in dire need of improvement, or so they say. Depending on who you ask, some say that health care resources must be redistributed in a more equitable manner, while others ...

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In July, I began an exciting role at Einstein: assistant dean for educational informatics. One of my main objectives is to optimize the use of technology to advance and deepen learning. But as much as I welcome it, technology alone will not achieve our educational goals. Recently, David J. Hefland, the president and vice chancellor of Canada’s Quest University, characterized the model of ...

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